After indie game darling Braid's mass popularity, creator Jonathan Blow didn't go crazy and buy a Lamborghini or something. He started a game studio instead, to create his next big thing: The Witness. Blow was on-stage at Sony's big PlayStation 4 announcement event back in February (that was this year!), where he announced The Witness as headed to the PlayStation 4 as a "console exclusive" -- a coup for Sony's PlayStation 4 after Braid initially debuted exclusively on Microsoft's Xbox 360 in 2008.
Since that announcement, Blow's been in development mode. The Witness was featured at Sony's PlayStation 4 review event, as well as trade shows like E3 and Gamescom, but he and his team have otherwise been pretty quiet. A few weeks ago, however, Blow posted a duo of enticing images (one of which is seen above) with the headline, "What could it mean??" The internet answered with the logical response: "Jonathan Blow possibly teasing Oculus [Rift] support for The Witness. This game seems like a perfect fit." is Reddit's headline. Surprising no one, The Witness -- at least the PC version -- will support the Oculus Rift.
"The main work we are doing is not for the Oculus," Blow told Engadget. "But then, since we are doing 3D it is not that big a step to support the Oculus also, so we are implementing support for it." In other news, apparently The Witness will support 3D televisions! It's not clear how the headset will interact with the game in terms of gameplay input, but we're thrilled enough by the thought of exploring The Witness' first-person open-world using the Oculus Rift. And hey, maybe by then there'll be a consumer version in sight by the time The Witness launches in 2014!
You'd better put that coffee down before you exhale it through your nose. Why? Because thanks to the very kind folk at Cartridge Discount, you could win a 3D printer. A second generation Cube by 3D Systems, to be precise. Not only would this make any tech-lover's Christmas, it solves your shopping woes too -- now you can print those socks for Uncle Alan if you win. Or stock up on bargain toner from Cartridge Discount if you don't. So, undoubtedly this is one heck of a prize for our UK readers (sorry everyone else), but you're likely wondering what you need to do to take part? Well here's the best part, just head past the break, read the terms and conditions (important!), and choose from the assortment of entry methods we've laid on for you. Don't thanks us, thank your lucky stars.
Sony's PlayStation 4 has surely taken over today's headlines, but that's not stopping Nintendo from making some news of its own. The company today announced that a YouTube application is coming to the 3DS at long last, giving users a chance to search, browse and watch videos right from the handheld system. What's more, Nintendo also said the Wii U's YouTube app will be getting overhauled in the coming weeks, complete with GamePad-focused search features and a variety of user interface enhancements. YouTube for the Nintendo 3DS is expected to arrive in North America and Europe by the end of this month -- in the meantime, you can keep watching those Francis rants on one of many other devices.
Source: Nintendo (Twitter)
12/11/2013 - Lytro software update lets you view images in 3D
A nice little, erm, shift in focus for everyone's favorite consumer-facing light field camera. Thanks to a software update to the desktop and iOS versions of the camera's app, users will be able to display Perspective Shifted images in three dimensions using 3D-enabled TV. Lytro Desktop 3.1 and Lytro Mobile 1.2 are available for your downloading pleasure today. The company also marked the release of a Cobalt Blue version of the camera. You'll only be able to pick that one up through Apple's site.
Sony has just announced the VPL-VW500ES 4K projector at IFA 2013 in Berlin, and though it didn't name a price, said it'll be much cheaper than its first 4K projector. Before you start re-arranging your theater room, though, the original VPL-VW1000ES cost a cool $25,000, so "cheaper" might be a relative term. If you're undeterred, though, you'll get full 4,096 x 2,160 4K resolution thanks to native 4K SXRD panels -- technology that Sony lifted from its commercial cinema projectors. Other perks include 1,700 ANSI-lumen brightness (compared to 2,000 for the VW1000ES), a 200,000:1 contrast ratio, "Super Resolution" Blu-ray to 4K upscaling, Motionflow tech for less blur, and support for HDMI 2.0 -- which permits 60fps 4K. Again, Sony hasn't mentioned a price yet, but we did see it at a French retailer for 10,000 euros, meaning a $10,000 price seems feasible.
Sony also dropped a Full HD 3D model, the VPL-HW55ES projector, which replaces the VPL-HW50ES as its top 1080p dog while using the same SXRD tech. It boasts 1,700 ANSI-lumens, a 120,000:1 contrast ratio, a 5,000 hour lamp, an optical engine upgrade and Reality Creation technology. Both projectors offer wireless HDMI compatibility, and will arrive at some point next month. For more minutiae, check the PR after the break.
Nobody can accuse Oscar-winning director Ang Lee of being stuck in a box, having gone from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Hulk to Life of Pi. According to Deadline Hollywood, he'll next tackle a boxing film that looks at the 1960s and '70s golden age or prizefighting, with such rivalries as Ali-Frazier and Hearns-Duran. Intriguingly, he intends to give us an intimate peek into that world by filming it in 3D, presumably using Life of Pi's Cameron Pace Fusion 3D technology. Other story and technical details have yet to come out, but given the filmmaker's love of complex themes and the epic clashes of the era, he's got our attention.
Via: The Guardian
Source: Deadline Hollywood
08/08/2013 - BenQ ships W1500 projector with wireless 3D video
When projectors are a dime a dozen, they have to do something truly special to stand out. BenQ's newly available W1500 might just pull that off: how does high-quality wireless video sound? The DLP unit is billed as the first projector to offer WHDI over 5GHz frequencies, letting it stream 1080p 3D movies at quality that's reportedly on par with an HDMI signal. The company isn't leaning solely on this trick to lure us in, mind you. The W1500 integrates with mobile devices, courts gamers through 3DTV Play support and throws an 84-inch picture from as close as six feet away. Such convenience is expensive at $2,299, but it could be a viable alternative to stringing video cables around the den.
When Avatar hit theaters in 2009 it was notable not only for its incredible computer rendered special effects and record breaking box office returns, but also as a touchstone for a resurgence of 3D movies. Now 20th Century Fox and director James Cameron have announced plans to build out a quadrilogy of Avatar movies. Screenwriters Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Shane Salerno and Josh Friedman are all on board to collaborate on the screenplays for movies 2, 3 and 4, which will be produced by Cameron and Jon Landau's Lightstorm Entertainment. Avatar 2 is scheduled to hit theaters in December 2016, with the other movies following in 2017 and 2018. WETA remains on hand to produce the special effects, we'll see what advancements in technology (Jim's in love with high framerates but The Hobbit didn't garner a universally positive response) allow them to create this time around and if audiences come out in similar numbers -- hopefully the 3D Blu-ray (or whatever format is around) doesn't take so long to arrive at retail this time.
Just how popular is 3D broadcast content? Not even a tiny bit, if the BBC's latest decision is any indication. Britain's top broadcaster has vowed to take a three-year hiatus from producing 3D video -- in an interview with Radio Times, Kim Shillinglaw, who heads up the British Broadcasting Corporation's 3D pilot program, cited the cumbersome process consumers face when gearing up to view three-dimensional footage. She'll focus on her secondary position as head of science and natural history during the organization's three-year embargo. A Doctor Who anniversary episode will be the BBC's final 3D program for the year, giving early adopting Brits one last opportunity to slide on their glasses before retiring them to the "junk drawer" until 3D's resounding resurgence.
Source: Radio Times
Though ESPN 3D's imminent demise might be evidence to some that 3D TV isn't exactly killing it, BBC has confirmed that it will cover Wimbledon again this year with that extra dimension. In particular, it will broadcast selected matches, including the men's and women's finals and semi-finals, in free-to-air 3D for those with the Red Button service and supported sets. Wimbledon marked its first-ever 3D broadcast two years ago, and the BBC is also experimenting with 4K coverage this year with Sony, albeit exclusively at a live spectator "experience zone" on the finely manicured grounds. The network also said it would up its live streams from six to ten to go with its YouTube coverage -- meaning UKers who miss a single grunt will have only themselves to blame.
ESPN 3D launched in 2010 with coverage of 25 FIFA World Cup matches, but word that the channel will be mothballed has the international football association reviewing whether it will use the tech in 2014. An Associated Press report quotes FIFA director of television Niclas Ericson saying that there is interest from several broadcasters in a 3D presentation, but the cost is currently under review. While FIFA focuses on its standard HD broadcasts, it's also thinking over offering 4K Ultra HD coverage, which is currently being tested during Confederations Cup matches. The Hollywood Reporter points out that while Sony has backed off some of the sponsorships that pushed early 3D productions, it's providing some of the equipment for UHDTV tests like its F55 4K camera. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is already in line for a 4K soccer broadcast in 2014, we'll see if it's put to use alongside new goal-line technology.
Source: Associated Press
Samsung told us to expect its 55-inch OLED TV sometime in July, but there's now a chance that South Koreans will get an early look. Yonhap News Agency hears through tipsters that the premium set could ship to Samsung's homeland next week, with a price somewhere north of 10 million won ($8,840). It might not be alone, either -- those same sources also claim that the company's curved OLED TV may arrive at the same time. Samsung hasn't confirmed anything, but such moves would line up with the firm's tendency to debut products in its home country. Besides, Samsung rarely lets any of LG's salvos go unanswered.
Source: Yonhap News Agency
Nintendo was coy when it announced that its first free-to-play game will launch before the end of next March, divulging only that it wouldn't belong to the Mario or Pokemon franchises. However, the firm's Shigeru Miyamoto revealed to IGN that its first gratis title would be a Steel Diver game -- yes, as in the 3DS launch title -- featuring four-person multiplayer. Don't expect a rehash though, as the pricing model will change the game's design. Kyoto's gaming powerhouse hasn't settled on what business model they'll lean on quite yet, but CEO Satoru Iwata mentioned during an E3 analyst Q&A that its unpaid games would be "balanced and reasonable." The Big N noted that "free-to-play games, if unbalanced, could result in some consumers paying extremely large amounts of money, and we can certainly not expect to build a good relationship with our consumers in this fashion." There's still no word regarding which consoles this free installment of Steel Diver will grace, but Miyamoto teases that it's something they're hoping to show "relatively soon."
13/06/2013 - Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma on the Wii U's stumbles, Virtual Console support and a 'need to evolve'
It's cool to be different. That's the message we typically feed our children when they come up against peer opposition. It's also an attitude Nintendo's adopted time and time again when its penchant for innovation, aversion to hardcore gameplay and reliance on classic franchises have put the company in a perceived last place position. But, as it's continually proven -- and most successfully with the Wii -- you can't ever definitively count the Mario hitmaker out. There always seems to be an ace in the company's IP sleeve that keeps bringing gamers and its diehard fanbase back to the fold. But we have to wonder: how long will that last? It's a question we posed directly to Eiji Aonuma, Nintendo's Most Valuable Player #2 and Zelda mastermind, this week at E3. And his answer might surprise you: "If we don't change we might die. We need to evolve. Things need to change. Things need to grow." It's a sobering admission, especially considering the source.
"If we don't change we might die. We need to evolve. Things need to change. Things need to grow."
The IP ace this time around falls upon the Zelda franchises' shoulders, except not in the way we've come to expect. The two newest titles in the series, headed to the 3DS and Wii U, also happen to be recycled efforts: a reimagining of A Link to the Past and an HD reboot of the Wind Waker, both headed up by Aonuma. Perhaps it's just a consequence of franchise fatigue and player familiarity, but there's something more alarming, more distressing about this back catalog mining; something Aonuma's all too aware of. It's also something he's actively steering his production teams away from, while at the same time attempting to take it all in as a greater lesson for a company so tethered to video gaming past. So to catch some deeper perspective on Nintendo's next-gen leanings, its level of self-awareness and the future of Zelda, we sat down with Aonuma for what turned out to be an honest and refreshing chat.
A lack of interest in 3D viewing at home has claimed one of its first major victims today, as ESPN announced its 3D channel is going to shut down. ESPN 3D launched back in 2010 with coverage of the FIFA World Cup, but it will not make it to the next one, or to see ESPN's new Monday Night Football deal. In between it's broadcast everything from golf to the X Games to the NBA Finals, along with college football national championship games and and a one-off news spot on E:60. AT&T's U-verse dropped the channel in August 2011 after being one of the launch partners, but said it would come back due to a new agreement signed earlier this year. ESPN overcame many technology and cost hurdles to broadcasting 3D over the years, but in the end the chilly reception from the marketplace for 3D at home appears to have been too much to overcome. Another element that likely affected it were recent layoffs by parent company Disney, that Multichannel News reports included some jobs associated with ESPN 3D.
So what's next for ESPN? According to a statement, "committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates." That should include the 4K capabilities planned for its new facility in Bristol, but we'll have to wait until it opens next year to find out. For now ESPN says it will be ready to provide 3D content again "if or when" the viewing format takes off -- the release of another Avatar flick or TVs that don't need glasses for 3D might help -- now the question is if / when other early efforts like n3D and 3net could also be shelved.
Source: ESPN 3D (Twitter)
The Skylanders aren't just evolving into combinable characters in their next entry, they're also heading to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Skylanders Swap Force was given an October 13th release date today, alongside news of its two new platforms (in addition to being on basically every other video game platform in existence).
Like previous entries in the Skylanders series, Swap Force employs a wired power pad where physical Skylanders toys (Swap Force versions seen above), power-ups, and new levels can be placed and then played in-game. This October's entry allows for toys from both the original Skylanders game and Giants to work with it; that also applies to PS4 and Xbox One versions. As for the launch date of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions ... well, that's a question of when Microsoft and Sony launch their consoles. The game will otherwise launch on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Wii and Wii U on October 13th.
While many remember the moment Dorothy stepped out into the Technicolor land of Oz, Warner is aiming to make that moment even grander with a 75th anniversary Wizard of Oz re-release this fall. The plans call for a week-long IMAX 3D run (similar to recent releases like Jurassic Park and the Oz HD screening back in '09) beginning September 20th, and a Blu-ray releases hitting shelves October 1st. Digitally remastered and scanned in 8K before being rotoscoped and converted for 3D from the original Technicolor negative, Warner called it a long and complex project which it would not release until "perfect." The Blu-ray set will come in several versions, with the five disc 75th Anniversary set including Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Ultraviolet versions plus a making of documentary and other special features. That one is currently priced at $73.99 on Amazon, and a 2-disc Blu-ray 3D combo pack goes for $26.99, with Blu-ray and DVD versions also planned. Check after the break for a press release with all the details, plus a video clip of that colorized first step and a documentary from the last time it was remastered, scanned in merely 4K resolution.
Filed under: HD
Denon's just added to its lineup of network-capable AV receivers with new IN-command models that bring 4K, streaming and surround sound options aplenty. The flagship model is the $1,300 AVR-X4000, which supports 4K passthrough for the few lucky owners of such sets, along with HDTV to 4K upscaling, Spotify, AirPlay and DNLA 1.5. Other features include 7.2 surround sound output with Audyssey DSX, Dolby Pro Logic IIz or DTS Neo:X encoding, 125 watts of power per channel, seven HDMI inputs and three outputs, a remote control app for iOS, Android or web browsers, home automation compatibility, multi-room control and MP3 audio restoration. The $900 AVR-X3000 and $650 AVR-X2000 pack similar features but dial back the watts, surround sound and decoding capability, while the $450 AVR-X1000 is limited to 1080p output and carries the smallest amp. All the models are now up for grabs, while the copious list of specs can be found at the source.
Via: HDTV Space
Loewe has staked its success in the TV market on personalized designs, and it's taking that concept to its logical extreme with the upcoming Reference ID. First shown at IFA last year, the LCD set is now due to reach the UK in July with progressively wilder customization options. Owners will only have a choice of covers for the built-in 160W speaker at first, they'll get frame selections later in the summer, and full customization of materials and patterns this fall -- if they want a set housed in leather and gold, it can happen. Conformists might still be happy with the Reference ID between its 3D-ready 400Hz panel, media streaming and a dual-channel DVR with 1TB of space. Loewe's adaptable design won't be cheap for discerning Brits, however: 40-, 46- and 55-inch variants will respectively cost £4,500, £5,500 and £6,500 ($7,007, $8,564 and $10,121), and that's before applying a personal touch.
Nintendo's European arm worked out a deal with Germany's video game regulation body, USK, and its 18+ eShop games are now available at any hour on the 3DS and Wii U. In a missive issued to European Nintendo console users, the company said "adults can browse and buy all games at any time of day" from now on. Said agreement was only reached after "analysis of the Parental Controls system on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS" by USK, which found the parental control systems "in practice" with standards.
The bizarre restriction, which originally allowed sales of 18+ games through the European eShop only between 11PM and 3AM, was caused by USK's decency and violence standards. As Nintendo's European branch is based out of Germany, the German laws impacted the entire region's eShop access. But no longer! Assassin's Creed 3 at 10AM? You bet! ZombiU at 2:13PM? Why not! Of course, with download / install times topping four hours, you may wanna get started sooner than later on downloading the bigger games.
Source: Twitter - @NintenDaan
Google's Fiber efforts may not be that widespread yet, but it's obvious the search giant is doing all it can to improve the service for those who are lucky enough to have it. With that in mind, Google announced it's now brought an initial batch -- albeit a minor one -- of 3D channels to its growing Fiber TV lineup, giving "Gigabit + TV" subscribers (who own a three-dee-ready TV, of course) access to 3net at no extra cost and to ESPN3D for an additional $5 per month. While the inclusion of 3net and ESPN3D might seem like a pretty minor one on paper, it's without a doubt a step in the right direction for Fiber TV -- and, as the company puts it, this shows how the company is "committed to making these qualities that you've come to expect from Google Fiber TV better and better."
Geeks who are into fast cars and stereoscopic displays must think that watching F1 races in 3D is the bees-knees. However, FIA, the sport's governing body, has often been resistant to new technology -- only adopting HD a few years ago. That's why when the FIA asked Sky to produce a test-broadcast of the practice laps in the run up to the Barcelona Grand Prix, the British broadcaster jumped at the chance. Naturally, BSkyB wanted to show off its technical marvel, and so invited us to come and see what it was like. Of course, like the good geeks that we are, our attention was focused on keeping Sky's chief engineer Chris Johns in a corner and needling him with questions. Curious to find out what he said (apart from "please go away," of course)? After the break is where all the cool kids are at.
For all the dimensions that Doctor Who has explored on TV, the third has been a rarity -- there was an early 3D experiment in 1993 for the series' 30th anniversary, a 2010 trailer, and that's that. For the show's 50th birthday, the company is willing to make a return trip through a two-part 3D special. Most of what's in store for the unique event is being kept secret, although we imagine we'll see plenty of Sonic Screwdriver action. We'll have to see how closely the special's broadcast dates align with the official anniversary in November; hopefully, it's far enough into the future that Whovians can prepare with a little TV shopping.
In a move it's calling a world's first, Sky Sports has announced that parts of Formula 1's final preseason tests from Circuit de Catalunya will be broadcast on its 3D network. While F1 has tested the use of 3D before, it's never been broadcast and chief Bernie Ecclestone -- who you'll remember fiddled for years as F1 stuck with widescreen standard definition video presentations before it made the jump in 2011 -- has previously said 3D will never be used. Sky Sports referred to the event as a one-off, while commentator Martin Brundle is quoted in the press release calling it a "special moment for F1 fans...a new immersive experience for viewers.
While Ecclestone may not be willing to push the envelope in broadcast tech, having Sky as a broadcast partner could force the issue as it justifies its exclusive access and dedicated broadcast channel. Last season the network upgraded the audio to Dolby 5.1 and added features like the Race Control view in its iPad app. Sky has previously featured sporting events on its 3D channel like Ryder Cup golf, Premier League and of course the 2012 Olympics. It says F1 will be the 14th sport it's delivered in 3D, although we'll have to wait until after this maiden test from February 28th to March 3rd -- it will also be available in 2D HD on the regular F1 channel -- to see if it becomes a regular fixture. Now, about those HD on-board cameras....
Source: Sky Sports
Like all-in-one PCs, TV and Twitter? NEC's new desktop PCs might just hit the spot -- if you live in Japan, that is. The company just launched its spring 2013 lineup of Valuestar systems which will be available in two display sizes on February 7th. Valuestar W computers pack a 23-inch screen and Core i7 processor with the 3D-capable VW970/LS costing ¥235,000 ($2,550) and the 2D-only VW770/LS listing for ¥215,000 ($2,330). The Valuestar N series boast a 21.5-inch display and come in three versions: VN770/LS with Core i7 for ¥195,000 ($2,110), VN570/LS with Core i3 for ¥160,000 ($1.740) and the ¥125,000 ($1,360) Celeron 1000M-equipped VN370/LS. While there are no details on RAM or storage options, all PCs run Windows 8 with Office 2013, and feature TV tuners, Blu-Ray drives (DVD on the VN370/LS), DLNA support, Yamaha sound systems, built-in video tutorials and access to music.jp's service. The 23-inch models provide instant-on TV functionality with three TV tuners (two for recording, one for viewing) while 21.5-inch units include dual TV tuners. NEC offers several ways to control the computer's TV functionality: via standard remote control, using gestures (except VN370/LS), with a custom smartphone / tablet app and even from Twitter. Yes, you can now DM your Valuestar system (even when it's turned off) and tell it to record TV -- you can also have it monitor Twitter for certain keywords / TV shows and overlay a popularity meter. What could possibly go wrong?